Saturday, January 29, 2005

Renewing SEPTA

City Paper doing rill big things! They have put out an amazing cover story, which provides 33 ways to make SEPTA better and more popular. They have completely outdone anything that I would or could have come up with here.

I do hope that the people running SEPTA and the politicians who continue to avoid coming up with funding read this piece. While it is a depressing issue on its surface, with so many things that need change, being at the bottom means that we can only look up. Duane Swierczynski lays this out in his intro, arguing that we needed to think big and create a system that will be the envy of the world. This is not a time for small ideas and changes, as we have hit rock bottom.

Deep down, we should approach this with hope, creativity and determination. There is so much that we can get done, there are so many great ideas out there, so many committed people, and so much to work with already. We have the basis for an amazing transit system, and now is the time. Each change will garner attention, and show a city committed to a cheap, efficient mass transit system. Each change will bring new riders who realize that they don't need to have a car and can see the beauty of city living. Each change will show a city that is ready to be in the forefront on issues.

Some of my favorite proposals are #2, 6, 10, 14, 26, 33. What do they say? Well, go read the article yourself and find out.

Leave comments and let everyone know which proposals sound best to you, or would get you to use mass transit more, or even give the reasons why you don't use it much now. Also, are there any recommendations that you don't see mentioned? The more ideas, the better, as change is coming.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Philly Skate Park Project

I just want to get this info out to the reader, as it is issue that has not gotten a whole lot of press. The City of Philadelphia has begun the process of creating a skate park in the city, presumably at the Schuykill River Park which is around 25th and Spruce Streets.

Check out the project'ssite and see what's going on. They are still in the planning stages, so now is the perfect time to get involved and help get this done right.

I cannot pretend to be a skater, nor do I have any plans to become one. As the kids like to say, I would be frontin' if I suggested otherwise. However, I do love the city, and feel like this would be a great addition. One of the most ridiculous and disappointing decisions made by the Street administration (and there have been many) was the one to ban skating in Love Park. It still does not make sense to me more than a year later, and might warrant its own post. Hopefully, this can make up some of the loss from that decision, and allow the city to become a mecca to skaters around the world once again. Now is the time to make sure that this project gets started and completed as promised, and that it is done with the wishes of skaters in mind. Go out to the meetings and get involved with the group and bring some great energy back to the city.

Also, make sure to check out Skate Nerd, a great site run by actual Philly skaters, and a great store on 6th and Bainbridge.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

To Be the Man

Watching the Steelers-Pats game Sunday night, I was confronted with the dilemma of deciding which team to root for. In other words, which team did I want the Eagles to play? The Steelers seemed like the easier opponent for them, as they too had never been to the Super Bowl, Roethlisberger had struggled against the Jets, and the Eagles' run defense has been phenomenal since Trotter came into the middle.

However, I changed my mind quickly. I wanted the Eagles to face the Patriots because they are the best team, the defending champions, the team that everyone is measured against. I want the Eagles' Super Bowl victory to show the world that they are the best of the best, that they took on all comers and came out on top.

As the greatest professional wrestler of all-time, "the Nature Boy" Ric Flair eloquently says, "To be the man, you gotta beat the man." Ric Flair and I both know that this is the only way to truly become a champion.

On Sunday, February 6, 2005, the Eagles will finally be the man.

One Team City Dream

I have to comment on Sunday's Eagles victory, as it was such a wonderful moment for the team and its fans. I live a life of constant cynicism and neurotic paralysis, but this one will escape such patheticness. For myself and many others my age and younger, this is the first time that we will get to watch our team in the Super Bowl. We have never had the chance to celebrate a championship for one of our teams, as we were too young to enjoy the Sixers '83 NBA title.

Despite the history of 3 straight NFC Championship losses, I honestly felt that the Eagles were going to win this game comfortably. Even at halftime, with the score 14-10, one knew that the Eagles were the better, more confident, more talented team. The final score does not reflect the domination and ease which the team achieved victory. So, I was aleady thinking ahead, which is sort of sad. It has been so long since there has been a championship in this city, that it feels like winning the NFC Championship isn't quite good enough. The Super Bowl is what this team deserves, to prove to the world that they are the best team in the league.

However, it is not fair to look so quickly ahead. We do that so much in this day and age. I don't want to easily fall into that trap.

This team has been ripped apart by talk radio and idiotic columnists, disrespected by the national media, represented only by its three straight losses in the NFC Championship game. No one talked about the consistent winning, the overcoming of so much adversity, or the talent that allowed for the success. So, I want all the players and fans to revel in this moment, to appreciate the virtue of getting up when you have been knocked down and continuing to fight. Neither this team nor its fans gave up hope, despite so many reasons and opportunities.

Many know that I love boxing, and consider it to be much more than a sport. Most cannot understand what I see in the sport, why I love the fights and the fighters so much, why I respect it all so much more than I respect our politicians and conventional heroes. The simplest answer I can give is that it gets right to the heart of the essence of life, as one sees someone get up from being knocked down and continuing to fight for victory. Boxing conveys this so dramatically and consistently, as one watches a fighter get up off the canvas after a knockdown and continue to fight to win.

The Eagles and their fans embody all of this perfectly. They have been counted out, disrespected and abandoned, but Sunday evening, there they were, on top. It brought tears to my eyes to see the joy in everyone else's jubilant reactions, watching Trotter break down after the game, the crowd going crazy after Chad Lewis' second TD, Ike Reese talking about how he did it for the fans.

They are not tears of sadness, though. These are the tears of joy, of accomplishment, emotions pouring out after achieving what seemed impossible at times, in the immediate aftermath of failure. I hope that everyone takes this and runs with it, as it is nothing, if not inspirational. I hope that all the people of Philadelphia take this to heart, and realize that we can get through the obstacles that confront us as a city. No longer can we talk about tax cuts, growth, mass transit with a cannot-do attitude. No more of this underachieving, overshadowed, woe-is-me city vibe.

Finally, I chose the Eagles' motto as the subject because I want this viewpoint of the city as one to stick. "One Team City Dream" serves as a new motto for us, as we have always been stuck in the neighborhood schtick. South Philly people live in their own world, and have no sense that they are neighbors to those of us living in North Philly. Center City residents talk and act like their area is the only civilized one, unaware of the vitality of West Philly and the Northeast. It has created a divided city that does not care about things going on blocks away. The future of the city does not matter to us, just the future of our block and neighborhood. But, we are a city, as each neighborhod and citizen are bound together. This Eagles' season will hopefully show us the common ground that we have, and mark a new beginning in so many ways. Please remember that we are all Philadelphians first, each one of us part of an amazing, vibrant city that becomes better and better with each new day.

Thanks to the team for never giving up, and bringing so much to this city. Philadelphia is behind you.

Monday, January 24, 2005

We got 99 Problems/New England ain't one

Before I let y'all see my sappy, overly intellectualized post on yesterday's Eagles victory, I wanted to direct you to this fantastic post at Hardly Art, Hardly Garbage.

Like everyone, Pound for Pound has gotten caught up in the playoff fever, and begun to take football way too seriously. You know that you have gone crazy when you get butterflies before the game like you have to stop Vick, watch the game by yourself in your apartment so supersititious that you spend more time trying to remember your exact movements from the week before than watching the game, and cry like a bitch at the sight of my bol Trott breaking down on the sidelines at the end of the game. It's just a game, right? Well, things are only going to get worse in the next two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, so check this out and restore some balance.

I am feeling all of the comparisons, but especially like the McNabb=Jigga and Trent Green=Kanye ones. Good to know that there are a few of us who know that Kanye is over. Anyway, go here, while I wipe the eyeblack off and spray some deodorant on the clothes that I will be wearing for the next two weeks. [Via Catchdubs]

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Cheap Seats without Ron Parker

One of my goals with this blog is to become the trendsetter that my mother and I always felt was my calling. So, I want to recommend a scrappy young show that has me laughing more than anything on TV (ranked along with Arrested Development and Curb Your Enthusiasm as the only funny ish out there). Cheap Seats without Ron Parker reminds me of this blog, in that both are seen by no more than 5 people. However, Cheap Seats deserves a larger audience, and I am going to do my best to accomplish this.

The show follows the brilliant model set by another of my favorites, Mystery Science Theater 3000. (Since you are wondering, yes, I do leave my apartment and have talked to real, live women.) The two hosts, comedians Randy and Jason Sklar, show old videos of ridiculous "sporting" events that were a staple of TV programming in the 70s and 80s, such as roller derby, pre-WWF wrestling and the Strongest Man competition. They then proceed to ridicule the proceedings, and all is good with the world.

Check out the show's website.

Go here for a look at the next episodes.

Go here to check out Randy and Jason's site, which has lots of info and funnies.

Then tune in to ESPN Classic on Sunday night and watch the damn show.

Oh, and leave some comments about any other great shows that few people are watching, but should be. C'mon mom, I know that you are reading this. Just leave a comment, as I am only doing this for your approval. I am just looking for some attention, some validation, dammit. Is that too much to ask for?

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Ride or Die

No, this is not a Ruff Ryder or DMX appreciation. As promised, I am going to discuss the SEPTA crisis that has been gathering attention in our city and the state over the course of the past few weeks. It is a crucial issue, one that reflects clearly whether or not we are determined to become the best city possible.

This first post is going to be short and sweet. Please use SEPTA today, Thursday January 20, and show your support for SEPTA and mass transit. Thursday is "Ride or Die", the brainchild of Philly Transit, a grassroots straphangers' organization formed to demand mass transit reform. Go to their site or email them at and sign up for the cause, as this is a pivotal issue for the city today and for its future. A vocal, united group of SEPTA riders has been long overdue in Philly, but it's better late than never. Check out this article by the always-great Carla Anderson, the Urban Warrior of the Philadelphia Daily News, for a great look at this event and the impact the group could have on the city. Go and read this article by former SEPTA executives, and learn the plan for Thursday and the goals. Finally, one more article, for those SEPTA virgins, a how-to guide to take some of the anxiety out of your first subway or bus trip.

I will post some more thoughts and info about the crisis here with SEPTA and on mass transit in general shortly, but feel that joining this group is the first and most important step for everyone who cares about the city and an affordable, well-run mass transit system. Go to this site or email them at and get involved. Take a bus or subway trip tomorrow, Thursday, and show your support monetarily and physically. Much more to come.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

In Trott We Trust

Okay, last Eagles post, I promise. I had to acknowledge the monster game of one of the inspirations of this blog, Jeremiah Trotter. My bol raised havoc for the Vikings, finishing with 5 tackles, 2 assists, one intereception, half of a sack and 2 passes defended. Perhaps his most important play came early in the game when he laid a smackdown on Randy Moss coming across the middle. The two men had a few words for each other, but one sees now that Trotter's message came across louder and clearer. Moss did not venture in the middle much more, and seemed to disappear for the most part.

After the game, Derek Gunn had the key quote for me, which neatly sums up why I am confident in this team and expect a win on Sunday. He reported what Jeremiah Trotter said to him before the game. "If I have to kill someone," Number 54 said, "we're getting to the Super Bowl." The best part is that this does not sound like a joke out of this bol's mouth, as one imagines him sticking a shiv in Vick under the pile if that's what it takes to get this team to the promised land. Put your faith and trust in this man, the heart and soul of the defense, and know that things are going to be alright.

Atlanta, things are really real now. We are all following this man. Be scurred, be very scurred.

Tell that bitch to be cool! Say, bitch be cool!

This post is directed at all the annoying losers who spend their year worrying and complaining about the Eagles, who equate the city and its image with this team, who call and rant on WIP, who make going to games such an unpleasant experience of drunkenness and obnoxiousness. Please listen to the words of my man Jules from Pulp Fiction and take his advice. Bitch be cool, enjoy this season and the winning, the thrill of a chance to win the Super Bowl. Everything is going to be fine this Sunday, so show some quiet confidence and dignity.

If you can't get behind the words of a fictional character, listen to some of the players who will take care of business at 3 PM on Sunday afternoon.

First, from Sam Donnellon's perfectly titled article, Don't Ever Doubt the D: "All the people who are paranoid?" safety Brian Dawkins said. "Have a good time. We're not playing that game."

In the same article, the key player for this game and the key difference from last year's team: "Personally, I was tired about hearing how we had taken too much rest, that we had too much time off," said the Freak, defensive end Jevon Kearse. "Or what certain coaches would or would not do with their players. This game is played between the players, and on the field."

Finally, BDawk drops some more knowledge, comes up with a good slogan, and refutes all of the Philly negativity in a single quote from Rich Hoffmann's piece: With that, Hell Week for Philadelphia fans officially began. In the Eagles' locker room, though, safety Brian Dawkins was saying, "When we stay loose, we're lethal."

All of us Eagles fans need to calm down, take a deep breath, and show some confidence for once. This is a new city and a new attitude is there. It needs to get through the established one that this city is just never good enough, always a bridesmaid never a bride, and . That might have worked during the hideous Rizzo and Goode years, but now it just seems like a relic, a default position for all of the cowards who ran from the city decades ago and those left behind. It might be the biggest barrier that prevents us from assuming our place as a world-city, far greater than the wage tax and underfunded mass transit and a lack of political ethics.

So, let this be your opportunity to adopt the new attitude that has taken hold of this city, particularly with those too young or too new to know the way things have been or are supposed to be. As my boy Bobby D. sang, "Your old road is rapidly agin'./Please get out of the new one/If you can't lend your hand/For the times they are a-changin'." They are, my fellow Philadelphians, and now is the time to change or be left behind.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

What Y'all Know About Dem Texas Boys

I saw this quote in the Daily News article yesterday on the Eagles' defense, which has been playing so well since the Steelers game. Of course, the insertion of my favorite player Jeremiah Trotter as the starting middle linebacker made all the difference. The article focuses on the key to this Vikings game, and why I think that the Eagles will win. The defense has been excellent all season, but it has been suffocating since Trotter came in. Their philosophy on avoiding big plays is a great strategy against the Vikings, who rely on the big play to Moss and the receivers to succeed.

Anyway, let Michael Lewis tell you what you don't know about them Texas boys: "We had a guy in there with a voice, who demanded your best on every play. Somebody you had to answer to on every play," Lewis said. "He just forced us, basically, to step up our play out there. As soon as he got in there, he made plays. You're going to listen to a guy who's out there making plays, giving it his all every play, taking on a lineman so you can make a play. A guy like that, who's going to play like it's the last down he's ever going to play, you're going to listen to."

So focused.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Round One

I want to welcome the readers of this blog, as I hope that I can live up to the title and become pound for pound the best blogger in the world. I had originally conceived this as a boxing blog, a chance for me to talk about the fight game, upcoming fights, its vast problems, etc. But, instead, I am going to use this as a place for me to discuss all of the topics that make the world interesting to me, like music, sports, politics and books.

One focus will be cities, a topic that is near and dear to my heart, which touches on all of the topics listed above. I want to use this as a place to discuss, think about and revel in the urban centers that have been abandoned and maligned by this country. Those who know me, know that there is one city that is my one true love, Philadelphia. I want to add my voice at this pivotal time in Philly's history, addressing some of the issues that need change, while simultaneously hyping all of the great people, places, building and events here. On an even grander scale, I hope that this site can serve as a counterweight to the negative thinking on cities in general. While Philly is the main focus, I hope that this can become a forum for a discussion and defense of the city in general, a defense of the greatest places on earth like NYC or SF or Baltimore or Boston or Chicago.

Typically, this was a long-winded attempt to write something brief. Get used to it, as I do not believe in going from point A to point B. I will begin making some posts in the next few days, with my initial focus being on the SEPTA mass transit crisis and the City Hall corruption scandal. Two chances for the city to move into the 21st Century on key issues, helping us become a leader, a place that inspires its citizens and outsiders.

It won't be all serious all the time. I will occasionally look at my sneaker obsession, which is both embarrassing and vaguely feminine. Occasionally I may use this as therapy, discussing my need to get a girlfriend or stop staying out so late, where you might be able to see the tracks of my tears. Or perhaps a look at my tension with radical feminism, stemming from my weak sense of masculinity. Other times, I may get into my gay crush on Topher Grace (no homo). I will also most certainly lighten things up with some music talk about all of the sounds in hip-hop, grime, dancehall, indie rock that have excited my ears, helped fill up my iPod and got me to shake it like a salt shaker.

I hope that you will enjoy what you read here, and check out the links that I set up for the far more talented people writing and doing their thing in the blogosphere. They are truly the best pound for pound and worth checking out daily. Please send along any comments you might have, as I would love the feedback.